Sunday, July 30, 2006


Slow Cookery

I know we all love our crock pots - if you are getting married soon, make sure to register for a big crock pot, the models that have a removeable bowl are the easiest to clean.

Italian Beef in a Bucket
3.5 lbs. beef roast, sirloin tip or rump roast (whatever is on sale)
12 oz. jar italian giardiniera ** - drained (use 1/2)
12 oz. jar pepperoncini (use 1/2)
1 envelope italian salad dressing (zesty if they have it)
10 oz. can reduced sodium beef broth

Place roast in crock pot.
Mix all other ingredients together, draining oil form giardiniera. Add to crock pot.
Cover and cook on LOW for 18 hours (yes, 18 hours).
Meat will be extremly tender and the house will smell super yummy!
Pull meat apart with a fork and serve on crusty rolls or hoagie buns, Jocko likes his with a slice of provolone cheese.

** Giardiniera is a mix of peppers packed in oil and is sold in the italian section of the grocery store. It is not to the "Garden Mix" of cauliflower, red pepper, onion and carrot.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Homemade chocolate pudding

Can also be used as pie filling.

1 C sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2-1/2 C whole milk
5 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
4 oz. unsweeted chocolate, finely chopped

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Add egg yolks and whisk until no yellow pieces are left and the yolks are fully incorporated.

Place saucepan on the stove and heat to medium, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon. If the spatula/spoon has stuff on it where you scraped the pan, the heat may be too high. If the stuff is brownish in color, your heat is definitely too high. When the mixture just begins to simmer, remove from the burner and allow to cool briefly. Place back on the burner (that's still on) and allow the mixture to reach a simmer again. Simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, chocolate and butter.

Immediately pour pudding into a bowl or prepared pie crust. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a film from forming. Allow to chill; when serving, garnish with whipped cream. Bon appetit!

Monday, July 24, 2006


Crystal's from-scratch pizza

All the secrets are revealed here.

2-1/2 to 3 C bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 C warm water

1 8 -to 12 -oz can tomato puree
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

1 8-oz. package shredded mozzarella cheese
Other toppings

Note: these instructions are given for someone making the dough with a Kitchen Aid mixer. If you don't have a big mixer, you'll have to knead the dough yourself. I can do that too, so if you have questions about how to do it, let me know. Stephie, I expect to hear feedback from you, since you now have that beautiful cobalt-blue Kitchen Aid mixer.

Crust: Combine in mixer bowl all dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula so that they're somewhat mixed together. Add oil. Add water. Turn on mixer on with dough hook attachment. Knead dough for about 5 minutes or until the dough forms a big, sticky blob. Add the remaining 1/2 C flour and knead about 3 minutes or until the dough is a smooth ball. Remove dough from bowl; wash bowl and coat with a small amount of butter or oil. Place dough in bowl and flip it around until coated with oil. Place plastic wrap over bowl. Allow to rise in a warm, still environment. (I stick it in my car with the windows rolled up during the summer; otherwise I put it in the microwave without turning it on.) You will know the dough has risen when it looks bigger and, when you poke it, your finger leaves an indentation. If you poke it and it bounces back, allow it to rise some more.

The dough's the hard part. Now that it's risen, remove it from the bowl and place on countertop. Squish it with your hands until it forms a flat disc. You can either roll the dough with a rolling pin or try to spin it in the air (takes practice). Once the dough is in the pizza pan (I use a cookie sheet or a 16" round pan), stab it with your fingertips all over to pop any bubbles that may form.

Spread sauce evenly over the pizza crust. Sprinkle cheese on top.. remember, as cheese cooks it moves toward the middle of the pizza, so make sure you put enough cheese at the edges. Sprinkle toppings over cheese.

Bake at 425 with the oven rack in the lowest position possible. It will take 10-15 minutes for the pizza to cook. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 2 minutes, then slice.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Pasta and veggies in peanut sauce

Pasta and veggies:
1/2 lb. pasta of your choice
Bite-size pieces of vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, summer squash, bell pepper, eggplant, etc.

Peanut sauce:
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 C peanut butter
1/2-3/4 C water
3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. molasses
6 tbsp. vinegar (preferably rice vinegar)
Cayenne powder, to taste

  1. Begin boiling water for pasta.
  2. Make peanut sauce: In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 tbsp. oil and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add peanut butter and water and stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Place pasta in pot of boiling water. Add vegetables during last 4 minutes of cooking so they cook with the pasta.
  4. Drain pasta and vegetables. Put back into pan. Add peanut sauce and stir well. Bon appetit!

Monday, July 10, 2006


Pork lo mein

Actually, you can use any type of meat in this recipe.

1-2 tbsp. oil (use canola or peanut oil, because they do well over high heat)
1 lb. meat, sliced (chicken, beef, pork, shrimp..)
Head of broccoli, washed and cut into florets
1/2 green pepper, washed and sliced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into slices or julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C chicken or beef broth, or water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 lb. fettuccine, spaghetti, or angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
  1. Make pasta.
  2. Make sauce: Combine soy sauce and broth/water and heat in microwave 1 minute. Add cornstarch and stir until incorporated.
  3. Stir fry: Heat frying pan or wok over high heat. Add 1-2 tbsp. oil. Add garlic and ginger; stir very quickly until you can smell the garlic, about 30 seconds.
  4. Immediately add meat. Stir quickly until the meat looks cooked on the outside, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetables and stir quickly until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add sauce and stir meat and vegetables around until well-incorporated. Add pasta and stir until combined. Enjoy!

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